s1t02 Here Comes Sunshine
s1t03 Mississippi Half Step
s1t04 Dire Wolf
s1t05 He's Gone
s1t06 Easy Wind
s1t07 Viola Lee Blues
s1t08 Black Peter
s1t09 Cosmic Charlie
s2t02 Shakedown Street
s2t03 Dear Mister Fantasy
s2t05 Dark Star
s2t06 The Other One
s2t07 Dark Star
s2t08 The Other One
s2t09 Help on the Way / Slipknot
s2t10 The Golden Road
s2t11 Jam / Slipknot
s2t12 Franklin's Tower
s2t14 donor rap
s2t15 Brokedown Palace
to wind up this tour john really nails the solo at the end of the brokedown palace encore.
May 7, 2012 Subject:
"New York got the ways and means..."
I have been blessed to get tickets for numerous recent Furthur shows in the City, Phil's birthday at the Best Buy last year, the last show at Radio City Music Hall and this performance the last night of a eight show run at the Beacon. I had a seat in 101 in the orchestra so sight lines and sound would be excellent and I was with a zoner buddy who is fun to be with. The vibe in the place was festive and you could not notice any exhaustion on most folks part, as there was magic in the air, as that pre-show hustle and bustle that is a hallmark of a show in New York
The band launches into " Here Comes Sunshine" and it is very clear the band want to jam tonight. The vocals are crisp and John and Phil are dialed in, as with the version that opened up the last show in Albany, the bands has places to go kids so you better jump on the bus. They develop a sweet melodic jam that high lights Jeff and Joe's contributions. and then they jump right into a fun and well received "1/2 Step". This version has the Beacon faithful singing along, in decent key I might add, and similar to the version they played in Wallingford, they do a nice jam in it.
The sing along continues with a spot on "Dire Wolf" with crisp harmonies from Sunshine and Jeff. It was clear that Levon Helm was weighing on the minds of many including the band and they next began a wonderful tribute to the man with a poetic and emotional version of " He's Gone". Bob had been low key in the mix so far this night and he did a understated reading that was very appropriate for an ailing friend. Once again the band extended the song with a rich jam that showcased Phil and Jeff contributions. They teased at a couple things during this jam "Dark Star" and even "I Know You Rider" to this ears. My tour buddy agreed.
This would end up with a raucous version of " Easy Wind" sung by John. It was great and featured some of his loudest playing of the night. I had to laugh and think that this was for the Secret Service and their recent escapades in Columbia.
"I been chipping them rocks from dawn till doom
While my rider hide my bottle in the other room
Doctor say better stop balling that jack
If I live five years I'm gonna bust my back, yes I will ."
Then they sprang on the biggest surprise of the night on us, " Viola Lee Blues" as they had played it just on Saturday night. This version is really when things got off the track with the song having taken some twists and turns since I last heard it. They started the song as usual but during the first jam, led by Jeff, they went into this traditional jazz jam that was really good. It is always a treat to hear Phil play his bass with a more traditional jazz influence, like he did during the version of "Fever" at RCMH with Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, and Larry Campbell.
The second jam is where things got out of control as the ferocity of the jam switched up in tempo and they did a massive "Cumberland Blues" tease. I honestly thought they were gonna do it, but it was just one of the sickest teases I have seen this band do and they went back to the chorus. OMG! The place went nuts it was like Stony Brook 1970 Halloween all over again.
Staying with the 1970 theme they went deep for a version of" Black Peter" that clearly was for Levon and it was beautiful. They built it up nice but it was not too over the top and Bob did it justice.
They ended the set with a high spirited version of " Cosmic Charlie" with Phil pointing to us during the " Go on home your Mama is calling you" verse and this set was done. Maybe one of the longest and strongest first sets of this run as well.
Set II had to be the cat's meow and the band did not disappoint opening up with a crushing uptempo version of " Shakedown". The band was on fire and Joe Russo was dancing on air. This reading was more like a 1981-82 version and there was no " shake it shake down chorus." They went old school for the Beacon faithful. The crowd was loving it and Phil was dominant in it. He played some of his loudest notes of the show during this and they jammed out of this not stopping and we got to come up for some air for a solid " Dear Mr. Fantasy" which you know had to be for Levon as well.
"Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune
Something to make us all happy
Do anything take us out of this gloom
Sing a song, play guitar
Make it snappy"
Cassidy was Bob entrance in to the second set and he more than stepped up to the plate. Like the version they played at RCMH this version is stellar and was a refreshing choice. This version just goes places and was one of the best I have seen this band play.Once again John, Jeff, and Joe are right on it. You will thoroughly enjoy going along for the ride embellishing all the insights that this song provides and again the band jams out of this song, are you noticing a trend here? The band's transition tonight are outstanding, as we all know this band has had it challenges with transitions in the past. They clearly hint where they are going and led by Phil we arrive at " Dark Star". I am sure this is the only time both of these songs have been paired and it worked like a charm.
This version of " Dark Star" is short but is focused and features some deep grooving quickly as John's solos are quite good.
They trade off the first verses and then hint very quickly where the "bus" is heading next as Phil leaves no doubts that we are continuing with our deep psychedelic motif and arrive at the "Other One" This version is not the in your face but is full of twists and turns and begs you to notice the nuances this band can do together when they are dial in. Before even getting to the second verse they race back into " Dark Star" to sing the second verse and then it right back into the " Other One" to sing the second verse of this classic. The band really does a amazing job of reaching a powerful peak before Bobby steps back up to the microphone.
They continue to jam and Phil is signaling and they pounce into " Help on the Way". They are totally into it and the band is playing as one as they slither into a huge " Slipknot!". They are going deep when we get one more opportunity for this band to steal our faces right off our heads and perfectly rockets into the " Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion" during the "SlipKnot!" jam. The crowd roars in approval and even begins singing the first verse before the band does, I know you westies will find most displeasure in that faux pas but hey that is what we do back east.
The band once again raises the roof on the old restored Beacon and then storm back into "Slipknot!" with utter perfection.It was a thing of beauty although I would loved a huge ballad before we arrived at "Franklin's Tower" which Phil delivered with passion and zeal. The band rocked it out and it was a huge send off to all and sadly Levon, who would pass on the next day. The other note worthy point is that this second set was one non-stop composition and that in its self is very cool.
When Phil arrived back for his donor rap, he received an extra long ecstatic applause from the New York faithful and they turned up the house lights behind Phil so he could all see us and smile.
The band sent us on our way with a heartfelt version of Brokedown Palace that was the best one I have seen this band do. The band offered warm embraces to each other as this run concluded and we all streamed out the doors into a warm spring night with wide grins.
April 21, 2012 Subject:
first Furthur i've listened to in a minute...
& this is really damn good... i get so focused on the Fat Man sometimes that i forget some of my favorite musicians are still alive, playing some of my favorite songs...
April 21, 2012 Subject:
April 20, 2012 Subject:
no time to hate
I'm definitely not a hater by any stretch, but while I agree there were some very inspired moments throughout this run, overall I feel it was the least exciting of the tours they've done so far. Guests might have helped, as well as a few less blatant repeats. For example, this night repeated 7 songs from the opener. It's no big deal, especially if most of the versions were all better than the previous ones, but considering the setlists are pre-written, a little more thought could prevent an unnecessary number of repeats. I also would have liked to hear some of the latter-day rareities like "Time" and "Strawberry Fields", all of which seem absent so far from this tour.
Still, am I complaining? Not by a long shot. There were plenty of late 80s Grateful Dead runs which left you searching for the gold ring, not to mention the 90s. Furthur has been the fulfillment of a longtime fantasy for me, the opportunity to re-live the glory of days gone by. And play well they do, most of the time in fact, even if they have their limits, which given Bob and Phil's age, is more than understandable.
So grateful though I ma ybe, and optimistic about the next go-round, I still feel like this run left a bit to be desired for. It probably would have been better to keep it to 6 shows, so each one might stand out a bit more. Still gonna buy the soundboards to all the ones I saw, of course, and things I missed while dancing and what not might reveal themselves later on.
As for tonight, of the 4 shows I saw, I rank it in second place (Sat > Wed > Mon > Sun). The energy level was up nearly the whole night, the repeats from Monday were nearly all better versions, Viola was cranking, Black Peter works great for me in the first set, and Cosmic Charlie is always welcome. Did not mind another Shakedown one bit, and the enrgy for the rest of the 2nd set did not let up. Darkstar-O1-Darkstar-O1 was fantastic, and even though I've seen enough HSF's to last a lifetime by this point (13 Franklin's in 31 shows!), it was still a rollicking gay old time, especially with the totally unexpected Golden Road thrown into the new detour slot. Brokedown was coming, we all knew that, and was a nice way to cool down before going home.
Four stars for this one, even with all the repeats, and looking forward to hearing this recording at work later today...thank you!
April 20, 2012 Subject:
keeping the freak flag flying
Furthur's Beacon run certainly was an epic event despite no major break-outs or guest 'stars'. But inventive playing, great jams and ofc a songbook full of magic and fairy tales.
This the final night saw the band really stretch out and the mix of 'Dark Star' and 'Other One' as psychedelic as these guys get these days.
Solid and inspired playing all around, also from the illustrious Bob Weir, despite looking tired and ragged
I feel sorry for the smal but loud minority of 'haters' - they definitely miss out on some fantastic music.